How This Mom of 3 Went From Unhealthily Overweight to Fitness Competitor in a Matter of Weeks

Erin Juarez experienced what many overweight people do: a drastic health scare that opened her eyes to the reality of her weight gain. A self-dubbed “yo-yo dieter,” Juarez would take a stab at restrictive diets only to get discouraged and go back to eating whatever she pleased.
With the help of a new diet, a team mentality, and an aptly named smartphone appĀ (page 7), Juarez went from unhealthily obese to a competition-winning bodybuilder. We uncovered how the mom of three saved her body — and her life.

1. She had a drastic weight-related health scare

Erin's Instagram post.

This photo motivated Juarez to get healthy after giving birth. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Juarez had a body fat percentage close to 50%.
  • Her doctor told her to get her weight under control or risk serious health complications.

Juarez used her third pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever she wanted to. “I had no boundaries. … I had a young son, I was always tired, and I couldn’t manage my health,” she said.

At five months pregnant, she woke up at 5:30 one morning in a pool of her own blood. Once they determined both she and the baby would recover, Juarez’s doctor revealed to her that her body fat was close to 50%. “This was my ‘aha’ moment,” Juarez said. “I really want to encourage people to make the difference to better themselves by a choice … not by a scare like what happened to me.”

Next: She lost 50 pounds using an app.

2. She used apps to track her food intake

Erin's before and after photos.

She accomplished her health goals and works hard to maintain her new healthy lifestyle. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Juarez used the Lose It! app to log her calorie intake.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Juarez said. “I had either always been underweight or extremely overweight.”

She began to go through fitness app options and settled on Lose It! “I downloaded five different options and deleted any that took me longer than 30 minutes to figure out,” she said. “If it took that long to navigate, I’d probably give up using it to diet.”

Juarez chose an app that allowed her to track the food she ate along with the nutritional value of the food.

Next: Juarez settled on a diet that really worked for her body type.

3. She keeps a strict diet

Erin meal prepping.

Meal-prepping helped Juarez lose weight. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Juarez keeps her diet limited to healthy fats, proteins, leafy greens, and complex carbs.
  • She supplements with nutritious shakes.

Juarez’s downfall is easy to relate to: She has a sweet tooth and loves ice cream. To curb her need for sweets, she started adding in Herbalife nutrition protein shakes. They deliver the nutrients of a full meal but taste like the milkshake you’re craving.

“I consume two Herbalife shakes a day and have a dinner full of lean protein like fish or chicken, a complex carbohydrate, a healthy fat, and leafy greens,” Juarez said. She eats six to seven snacks a day, usually made up of proteins, such as nuts, or carbs, such as apples. Juarez cut out alcohol entirely and quit smoking to achieve a healthier lifestyle, as well.

Next: It’s tough to lose weight without this one thing.

4. She exercises daily

Erin's before and after photos.

The weight started to melt right off. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Juarez works out five to six days a week.
  • On her “rest day,” she still stays active with her kids.

Juarez started slowly with her exercise by walking her kids around the block. The more she walked, the farther she traveled until eventually she started jogging. “The stroller broke one time I went jogging,” Juarez said, laughing. “That’s when I realized it was time to sign up for a gym membership.”

She took it a step further, enrolling in an all-natural bodybuilding league. She had already dropped 50 pounds from changing her diet and dropped another 26 in the following weeks from exercise. Juarez logged her exercise, along with her diet, to track exactly how many calories she burned each day.

Next: She couldn’t have done it without the help of those around her.

5. She was inspired by those around her

Erin in a photo with her son.

Erin Juarez is raising her kids to be healthy and active. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Juarez lost 76 pounds over 16 weeks.
  • Her husband lost nearly 200 over time.

Juarez utilized the community she gained through her league and the app to keep her diet and exercise in check. “My friend got me a Fitbit to sync with the app and track my exercises,” she said. While the help of her friends and teammates made a huge difference, Juarez was most pleased with her family’s reaction.

“I was shopping with my kids recently,” she said. “I don’t always feel comfortable wearing tighter clothing, but when I stepped out of the dressing room my kids said, ‘Mommy, you look so pretty!’ and it made a difference.” Juarez now acts as a role model for her kids and keeps them active, healthy, and drinking water. Even her husband dropped weight as a result of her new healthy lifestyle.

Next: Juarez found that mind over matter truly works.

6. A positive mindset was critical to her success

Juarez and her friends cheering together.

She works hard to get other people excited about health and fitness. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Juarez became a health coach and still uses the Lose It! app.
  • She attributes her success to her mind-over-matter approach.

Juarez was shocked when she placed in the top five contenders during a bodybuilding competition. The endorphin high she got from competing encouraged her to become a health coach. “I use the Lose It! app to help my clients meal plan and I still use it for myself,” she said.

Despite all her physical success, Juarez attributes her weight loss to a positive mentality. “Your brain is the strongest muscle in your body,” she said. “If you have a weak mind, your body is going to listen. Set goals, write them down, and don’t worry about what other people are doing.”

Next: We delve into the app that helped Juarez achieve her record weight loss.

7. More about Lose It!

Erin's weight loss results.

Tracking your weight loss can lead to major motivation. | Erin.n.juarez via Instagram

  • Users have lost almost 70 million pounds using Lose It!
  • The app built a weight loss community that encourages each other to drop pounds in a healthy way.

Lose It! stresses “weight loss that fits” for each and every individual. The app makes nutrition tracking easy by allowing users to take photos, scan bar codes, and type in food. It is based on three easy steps: Set a goal, track your food and exercise, and sync your devices to help you throughout the day.

Lose It! started letting its users track their body fat in 2012 to help get overweight people to a healthy BMI. The basic app is free. But you can buy a premium membership, which offers fitness and food recommendations for $3.33 a month.

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